The National Union of Teachers (NUT), one of the UK’s largest education unions, has voted overwhelmingly to take action against a proposed £200m shortfall in college and school funding.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) set out its final budget allocations for sixth forms at the beginning in March, but it was forced to scale back support just weeks later after roughly 35,000 more students than it had predicted chose to stay in education beyond the age of 16.
The education union pushed through the possibility of industrial action on the last day of its annual conference, as it sought to "defend the jobs of teachers affected by these cuts, by collective action where possible, up to and including strike action".
It is waiting on Chancellor Alistair Darling to address the gap when he releases the Budget on April 22.
A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokeswoman said: "We are still working across government on the extra financial support we need to provide for the new learners that are coming forward.
"The LSC will write again to schools and colleges at the end of this month.
"A strike by teachers would be counter-productive and would only hinder students’ learning."
Bryan Beckingham, joint branch secretary of Oldham NUT, who was among delegates at its annual conference, said: "It depends on the response of the Government. If they do not respond we would move to protect jobs and education.
"I think the LSC was incredibly incompetent, at the very least it seems to be very poorly managed. Mismanagement at the top should not lead to courses being cut and jobs going."